Lebanon: Little progress in torture prevention, UN experts find


The UN Subcommittee on Prevention of Torture (SPT) is concerned about the prolonged pre-trial detention, overcrowding and deplorable living conditions in places of deprivation of liberty that it observed during its second visit to Lebanon.

“Twelve years have passed but most of the recommendations from our first visit remain to be implemented, and the efforts made by the Government had no major impact on the situation of people deprived of their liberty”, said Nika Kvaratskhelia, Head of the SPT Delegation to Lebanon.

The Delegation visited Lebanon from 4 to 10 May to assess the country’s implementation of the recommendations it had made following an initial visit in 2010. Other objectives of the visit were to establish direct contact with the recently established national monitoring body, and to examine the treatment of people deprived of their liberty and their safeguards against torture and ill-treatment.

During the weeklong visit, the Delegation carried out unannounced visits to places of detention and met government officials, members of the national preventive mechanism, civil society representatives and UN agencies.

The experts expressed serious concern about the persistent problems in the administration of justice, prolonged pre-trial detention, overcrowding and deplorable living conditions in many places of deprivation of liberty.

“The establishment of an independent, well-resourced and properly functioning national preventive mechanism is key to preventing torture and ill-treatment. Lebanon still has to take strong and urgent action in this regard to comply with the Optional Protocol,” Kvaratskhelia added. 

The SPT will share its report with Lebanon, including observations and recommendations arising from this visit. The report will remain confidential unless the State party decides to make it public, which the Subcommittee encourages the authorities to do.

The SPT Delegation comprised Nika Kvaratskhelia, Head of Delegation (Georgia), Vasiliki Artinopoulou (Greece), Marija Definis (Croatia), Satyabhooshun Gupt Domah (Mauritius) and Hamida Dridi (Tunisia).